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NOLA Brewing Company

24 Mar

IMG_1157Last week I went to visit my grandparents in New Orleans. I had to make a point to stop by one of the local craft breweries, and there just so happened to be one very close to where we were shopping one day. The NOLA Brewing Company is two blocks away from Magazine Street off Tchoupitoulas Street. (I’d like to hear you try to pronounce that if you’re not familiar with the area).

It had a two story taproom with rooftop access and a view of the Mississippi River. They had the most expensive flights i’ve come across at $10 for four IMG_1155pours. I went with a raspberry sour called Desire, a pineapple habanero IPA, the Irish Channel Stout, and a porter that I forget the name of. I’ve learned from the few sours i’ve tried that i’m not a fan, but this was the best i’ve tried. They kind of fall into the same category as cider for me. I’m just not able to drink more than one at at time and they just don’t taste like beer. The pineapple habanero wasn’t very pinapple-y or spicy. The Irish Channel Stout wasn’t my favorite stout ever but I decided to take a 4 pack of pint cans home so I could bring a piece of New Orleans with me, which I think was $10.

The taproom had a small menu, which I didn’t really pay attention to since we were full from Juan’s Flying Burrito. Now THAT is some good eats. The beer was mediocre and the bartender was meh. If I lived there i’m not gunna lie, i’d IMG_1191probably go back to try more since they had i’d guess close to 20 beers on tap, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Worth popping your head in if you’re area, but definitely not the 12 hour drive from Tampa.

 

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Cigar City Brewpub

23 Mar

I forgot to blog about my trip to the Cigar City Brewpub in Tampa before I went on vacation last week. I’m getting pretty bad at this. I’ve had a few of Cigar City’s beers before and had even visited the taproom a few years back, but it had been awhile so I went with a flight to try more than one.  I went IMG_0941with the hard cider, Maduro Brown Ale, Space Race and Barley Berry Jam. The only reason I know this, by the way, is not from superior memory, but from this awesome app on my phone called Untappd. It’s how I “check-in” or log my new beers. It’s like Facebook, but for you and your beer drinking friends. But that’s another post.

Anyways, I remember liking them all, the Space Race the most, which I think was a stout. But again not the biggest fan of the cider. Just too sweet for my taste. They had a ton of beers on tap so there is definitely something for everyone. No, I don’t remember how much the flight cost.

The dinner menu had a good variety and I went with the empanada of the day, which happened to be something with buffalo chicken when I went. It was pretty good; i’d eat it again. Nicole was a total copycat and got the same thing, but our other two friends went with the flank steak, which looked delicious, and the mac n cheese with ropa vieja, which I can attest was delicious. We had an appetizer of caprese salad, which was fresh and filling. Overall for the price it was a good deal. The decorations inside were cute too with use of beer barrels, bottles, cans, etc in all the furniture and walls. I don’t think i’d drive that far again just for the beer, but if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by.

MA Breweries: Rapscallion & Tree House

10 Aug

IMG_20150802_133953While I was vising family in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to check out two local breweries. Tree House Brewing Co. in Monson is not a place you go to drink beer, but a place you go to buy beer. And the locals love it. We had to come back a few days after we tried the first time because it was a 2 hour wait. You basically go there to buy a growler and fill it, bring your growler to be filled, or buy some cans or swag. You can not drink on the premises but they do have corn hole outside for patrons while they wait 30 minutes for their growler to be filled. I think it was a little over-hyped for the few beers they actually had on tap, but they were good. I bought a few cans of their current IPA Julius and a growler of That’s What She Said Milk Stout. 

Rapscallion Brewery in Fiskdale is on a cute farm in an old barn building at Hyland Orchard and it just so happened that when we went they were IMG_1831setting up for a wedding in their event facility. It was really cool to see hops growing outside like vines since you don’t usually see that in Florida’s climate. They offer a sampler which includes four tastes for $8. Their tap list was much longer than Tree House with about 12 brews available where the latter had about 4. Everything from a honey ale to a super IPA was available. After my sampler tray I went with a pint of the Black IPA which was a interested stout/IPA blend that I really enjoyed. These scenic spots are definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the MA area.

3 Daughters Brewing

29 Jun

IMG_7377Last week The Nicoles went to 3 Daughters Brewing for our final Travels, Tours & Tales column while working together at the Osprey Observer. We took home a six-pack of each of their three most popular brews: Beach Blonde Ale, Bimini Twist IPA &  Rod Bender Red Ale. They are all higher in ABV with 5%, 7% and 5.9% respectively.  I think my favorite was the Beach Blonde Ale that had this really pretty yellow color to it. Although they were all different styles, they were all fairly hoppy, more so than I expected. The prices are reasonable at about $8 a six-pack and they are available at most grocery and convenient stores.

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While we were at the brewery we also got a flight for $6.50 which included four 6 oz. pours from the tap line-up. I don’t remember exactly which four I picked, I think it included El Hefe, Saison Lafayette and Belgian Dark Strong, but I remember liking them all more than the three canned styles we IMG_7419took home. I believe they have over 64 different styles of beer, not all of which are in bottles.

It was a really cute place in the art district of St. Pete with homemade pieces around the bar including a mural from local artists the Vitale Brothers. I love that the couple named the business for their three young daughters since they will be using the proceeds to put them through college. It makes me feel like i’m supporting a noble cause when I purchase their beer. They have a ton of board games, ping pong, darts and more right in the storehouse where they brew and host live music on the weekends plus food trucks. I will definitely have to make my way over there on a Friday night sIMG_7392ometime soon.

Brew Hub

26 Apr

I recently had the opportunity to tour the Brew Hub in Lakeland , and it was awesome. For a beer geek like myself it was super interesting to check out the facility, but for those who are more into the taste they will be equally as pleased.IMG_5479 It’s like a mall for beer. On tap they have several different breweries products so not only do you have a variety of types of beers, you also have a variety of brands of beers. It’s better than a bar because your beer is freshly brewed, not just freshly tapped. They even have a small menu provided from local food truck Red Door, which serves delicious beer cheese mac n cheese. They also sell cans, bottles and growlers on site. After trying a flight of four beers I ended up taking home a growler of Orange Blossom Pilsner.IMG_5505 This place is worth checking out and will soon become a nationwide business in no time. I will definitely be returning soon.

ESB Brewing

23 Sep

My quest to check out local breweries continued yesterday as Nicole and I went to ESB Brewing off Falkenburg Rd. (not very far from Florida Cane Vodka) with a Groupon for a tasting and tour for two along with a growler to take home for $19 (a $36 value).  This is another place that is located in an industrial park/plaza where everything kind of looks like storage units, so it’s hard to know there is a brewery/tasting room there if you’re not looking for it.

IMG_4656This place has only been open since November of last year, but according to Francis Booth (the B in ESB Brewing), they have brewed over 30 different beers. These local guys enjoy experimenting with different ingredients and constantly crafting new brews.

It is a growing operation and currently they don’t have the equipment to mass produce bottles just yet, but there are two beers customers can purchase from the bar to take home in bottles, as well as a growler filled with their choice of tap beer. When we went, they had 15 different beers on tap offering a diversity of flavors from the Summer Citra with a grapefruit taste at 5% IMG_4678ABV (which is the growler we took home) to the Anne Bonny’s Chocolate Cherry Stout at 6.5% ABV. I think my favorite was the bourbon casked Walking The Plank at 7% ABV that tasted kind of like cherries (at least to me).

It was only a couple of bucks for a pint and the pirate-themed place had dart boards and an inviting atmosphere. I would definitely go back, especially since they are working on a pumpkin beer, and would love to check out when they have bands and food truck events. If you want to try some of ESB’s craft brews you’ll have to visit them at their tasting room since they don’t sell them in stores just yet, or they are also on tap at Ciccio Cali, World of Beer, and I believe O’Brien’s as well.

Oh and Francis also owns Booth’s Brewing & Bar Supply next door so they can help you craft your own home-brews, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Two Henrys Brewing Company

17 Jul

IMG_20140713_131458I recently purchased an Amazon Local deal for $20 that included a five beer flight at Two Henrys Brewing Company in Plant City as well as a growler (large resealable glass container) with a gallon of beer to take home. I went this last Sunday with a coworker and we had an awesome time. Two Henrys Brewing Company is owned and operated by the same owners of Keel and Curley Winery and is run on the same facility. There are two separate bars inside, one geared toward wine and one with the taps, but you can taste the beer or wine from either.

The flight consisted of five separate 5 fl oz glasses, which I believe is normally priced at $7.50. There is a fairly large menu of about seven brews and their cider to choose from, but that changes IMG_4266seasonally. My favorite was the Slow Boat to Cuba which was a stout brewed with Cafe Bustelo. My least favorite was the cider; it tasted very earthy, almost like dirt.

I ended up taking home the Saison in my growler that had notes of raspberry in it because the Slow Boat to Cuba couldn’t be bottled due to sediment, which I was very sad about. The growler, which I think was normally $17.50, is a good deal if you’re planning on taking it to a party or drinking it that day, but because it doesn’t hold carbonation it’s best to drink it as soon as possible. Obviously I had to get a Two Henrys glass for $2.50 to drink my Saison in, which was totally worth every penny.

Tours of the winery and brewery are available on the hour from 1-4 p.m. on the weekends. It’s $5 and you get a little history and science lesson. The brewery is about a year old and was named after Henry M. Flagler, who helped develop the east coast of Florida with his railroads and oil industry, and Henry B. Plant, who helped develop the west 20140713_153456coast of Florida with his railroads and hotels. Quite a few restaurants and retailers carry some of their beers (check out their website for a full listing) but our tour guide mentioned they will have a canning machine soon which will make their products much more accessible to consumers.

This brew hub is definitely an up and comer to be noted and worth the try.